Messi and Suarez efforts fail to surmount Al Hilal in Saudi friendly
Inter Miami showcased a thrilling performance against Al Hilal, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez leaving an indelible mark in the bustling Kingdom Arena of Riyadh.
The match ended in a 4-3 victory for Al Hilal, but not without the Major League Soccer side putting up a spirited fight.
The game kicked off with a brilliant display from former Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who coolly finished a well-worked move to put Al Hilal ahead in the 10th minute. Abdullah Al-Hamdan extended the lead just three minutes later, leveraging a defensive lapse from Inter Miami’s Noah Allen.
Miami’s struggles and persistence paid off in the 34th minute when Luis Suarez found the back of the net. Initially ruled offside, VAR intervention reversed the decision, bringing Miami back into contention.
The first half concluded with Al Hilal restoring their two-goal advantage as Brazilian forward Michael nodded home a cross from Al-Hamdan. The stage was set for an intense second half.
Miami launched a strong comeback after the break, with Lionel Messi converting a penalty in the 54th minute after a contentious foul on David Ruiz. The momentum continued as Ruiz unleashed a fierce strike, leveling the score at 3-3. This was a crucial moment for the two sides.
The game seemed destined for a draw until Al Hilal’s Brazilian forward, Malcom, rose to the occasion with an 88th-minute header, securing the 4-3 victory for the Saudi Pro League side.
Despite the defeat, Inter Miami’s performance showcased the resilience and determination that fans can expect in the upcoming Major League Soccer season, set to commence on February 21.
The match served as a valuable experience for the team, preparing them for their second friendly against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia on Thursday and subsequent fixtures in Hong Kong and Japan.